Today Only: Special Rates on Bayou Tours! Call to Book

Mardi Gras Food Ideas & Where To Find It

New Orleans is a melting pot of food. There are so many different types of cuisine to taste while visiting the city. When visiting during the Mardi Gras festival you may experience long waiting times at restaurants. No worries, there are lots of options for grabbing a quick bite. Throughout the city, you’ll find plenty of food trucks, casual dining, and cafés. Food trucks are a great option for grabbing a bite while on the go, keep your eyes peeled as the trucks will most-likely be parked nearby the different events. Look for casual dining outside of the French Quarter as this will be your best bet for finding a table. There are tons of cafés located around NOLA, perfect for grabbing a coffee in the morning and a sandwich for lunch. Many cafés will also offer Wi-Fi to guests. Finally, try booking a hotel with a bar or restaurant, this will make it easier and more convenient when the city is at its busiest. Here are the best ways to grab food during Mardi Gras.

Food Trucks

Most of the food trucks change their location daily, so you’ll have to keep a lookout while exploring the city. Some trucks to watch out for include Food Drunk and Foodie Call. However, now there are a few food trucks that have a permanent address. In the Garden District check out La Cubana for some tasty Cuban and Latin American food. Or Crepes a La Cart is another good choice if you’ll looking for something sweet and savory. The best part is that new food trucks are popping up every year!


There are cafés scattered throughout the city making is super easy to grab some coffee and a quick bite to eat. In the morning, pop in a café for some coffee/tea and a muffin. Many cafés will also have a selection of sandwiches available for purchase. Check out Antoine’s Annex conveniently located in the French Quarter for a delicious full breakfast. If you’re trying to satisfy a sugar craving look no further than La Boulangerie located in the Garden District. This coffee shop is also a full bakery offering a selection of pastries, muffins, pies, and so much more. Finally, for lunch head to Maple Street Patisserie et Deli also located in the Garden District for the perfect deli sandwich.

Casual Dining

Your best bet for grabbing a table during lunch or dinner is outside the French Quarter. This is a nice option for couples or families looking to get away from the crowds for a couple of hours. Casual dining offers the chance to sit down and enjoy your meal. You can’t leave New Orleans without eating some seafood. Head to the Art District and check out Peche Seafood Grill for the best seafood around. If you’re in the mood for Italian stop by the Domenica Restaurant located in the Roosevelt Hotel for a tasty meal.

Top Traditional Mardi Gras Dishes


Gumbo is a traditional Mardi Gras dish that originated in Louisiana. It is a flavorful stew that typically includes a combination of meat or seafood, vegetables, and spices. The key ingredient in gumbo is the roux, which is made by cooking flour and fat together until it reaches a rich, dark brown color. This gives the gumbo its distinctive flavor and thickens the stew.

Gumbo is often served over rice and is a popular dish during Mardi Gras celebrations. It is a hearty and satisfying meal that warms the soul. There are many variations of gumbo, with different regions and families having their own unique recipes. Some popular types of gumbo include seafood gumbo, chicken and sausage gumbo, and vegetarian gumbo.

If you’re looking to try gumbo during Mardi Gras, you can find it at various restaurants and food stalls in Louisiana and other areas with Mardi Gras celebrations. It is also a common dish at Mardi Gras food festivals, where you can sample different types of gumbo from local chefs and vendors.


Jambalaya is a classic dish that originated in Louisiana and is commonly associated with Mardi Gras. It is a flavorful one-pot dish that combines rice, meat, and vegetables. The key ingredients in Jambalaya are sausagechicken, and shrimp. The dish is seasoned with a blend of spices, including paprikacayenne pepper, and thyme, which give it a spicy and aromatic flavor.

Jambalaya is traditionally cooked in a large cast-iron pot, which helps to develop a rich and smoky flavor. The dish is often served with a side of cornbread or French bread.

Here is a simple recipe for Jambalaya:

  1. Heat oil in a large pot and sauté onions, bell peppers, and celery until softened.
  2. Add sausage, chicken, and shrimp to the pot and cook until browned.
  3. Stir in rice, diced tomatoes, chicken broth, and spices.
  4. Cover the pot and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the rice is cooked and the flavors have melded together.
  5. Serve hot and enjoy the delicious flavors of Jambalaya!

Tip: For an extra kick of flavor, add a splash of hot sauce to your Jambalaya.

Crawfish Etouffee

Crawfish Etouffee is a classic Cajun dish that is a must-try during Mardi Gras. This rich and flavorful dish features tender crawfish tails smothered in a thick and savory sauce made with onions, bell peppers, celery, and a blend of spices. The dish is typically served over a bed of fluffy white rice, allowing the flavors to meld together perfectly.

Etouffee is a French word that means “smothered” or “suffocated,” which perfectly describes the cooking method for this dish. The crawfish tails are cooked low and slow in the sauce, allowing them to become tender and soak up all the delicious flavors.

If you’re looking to make Crawfish Etouffee at home, here’s a simple recipe to get you started:

  1. Heat butter in a large skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add onions, bell peppers, and celery to the skillet and cook until softened.
  3. Stir in garlic, tomato paste, and Cajun seasoning.
  4. Add crawfish tails and cook until heated through.
  5. Serve over rice and garnish with green onions.

Tip: For an extra kick of flavor, add a splash of hot sauce or a sprinkle of cayenne pepper to the dish.

King Cake

King Cake is a traditional Mardi Gras dessert that is enjoyed during the carnival season. It is a sweet, yeasted cake that is typically decorated with colorful icing and sprinkles. The cake is often shaped like a ring or oval, symbolizing the unity of the community. The most important ingredient in a King Cake is the hidden plastic baby figurine, which represents good luck and prosperity. The person who finds the baby in their slice of cake is said to have good fortune for the coming year.

  • King Cake is usually made with a rich, buttery dough that is flavored with cinnamon and nutmeg. It is often filled with a sweet filling, such as cream cheese, fruit, or praline.
  • The cake is typically served at Mardi Gras parties and gatherings, where it is enjoyed with friends and family.
  • It is customary to serve King Cake on January 6th, also known as Twelfth Night or Epiphany, to mark the beginning of the Mardi Gras season.

Tip: When serving King Cake, be sure to warn your guests about the hidden baby figurine to avoid any accidental choking hazards.

Regional Mardi Gras Specialties

Beignets from New Orleans

Beignets are a delicious and popular treat that originated in New Orleans. These pillowy squares of fried dough are typically covered in a generous dusting of powdered sugar, creating a sweet and indulgent treat. Beignets are often enjoyed for breakfast or as a midday snack, paired with a hot cup of coffee or café au lait.

If you’re planning to make beignets at home, here’s a simple recipe to try:


  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Vegetable oil, for frying


  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the milk, water, and vanilla extract.
  3. Gradually add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, stirring until a smooth batter forms.
  4. Heat vegetable oil in a deep fryer or large pot to 375°F (190°C).
  5. Drop spoonfuls of the batter into the hot oil and fry until golden brown, flipping once.
  6. Remove the beignets from the oil and drain on a paper towel-lined plate.
  7. Dust the beignets generously with powdered sugar before serving.

Tip: Be sure to serve the beignets warm for the best taste and texture.

Enjoy these delectable beignets as a taste of New Orleans!

Boudin from Louisiana

Boudin is a traditional Cajun sausage that is popular in Louisiana. It is made with a mixture of pork, rice, onions, and various spices. The sausage is typically stuffed into a casing and then boiled or grilled. Boudin is known for its unique flavor and texture, with a combination of savory and spicy notes. It is often enjoyed as a snack or as part of a meal.

Here is a table that showcases the ingredients used in making Boudin:

Pork2 pounds
Rice1 cup
Onions1 medium
SpicesTo taste

If you’re planning to make Boudin at home, here are the steps to follow:

  1. Cook the rice according to the package instructions.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the cooked rice, ground pork, chopped onions, and spices.
  3. Mix everything together until well combined.
  4. Stuff the mixture into sausage casings, forming links.
  5. Boil or grill the sausages until cooked through.

Tip: Boudin is best enjoyed when served hot with mustard and crackers.

Whether you’re visiting Louisiana or trying to recreate the flavors at home, Boudin is a must-try dish that showcases the unique Cajun cuisine.

Muffuletta from New Orleans

The Muffuletta is a classic New Orleans sandwich that originated in the Italian immigrant community. It is made with a round loaf of Italian bread that is split and filled with layers of Italian cold cuts, cheese, and a tangy olive salad. The key ingredient in a Muffuletta is the olive salad, which is made with a combination of olives, pickled vegetables, and olive oil. The bold flavors of the cured meats and the briny olive salad create a delicious and satisfying sandwich.

  • The Muffuletta is typically served as a whole sandwich, but it can also be ordered as a half sandwich.
  • It is best enjoyed with a cold beer or a glass of red wine.

Tip: When ordering a Muffuletta, be sure to specify if you want it heated or cold. Some people prefer the sandwich to be warmed up, while others enjoy it cold.

Cajun Boiled Shrimp

Cajun Boiled Shrimp is a popular dish in Louisiana and is often enjoyed during Mardi Gras celebrations. The shrimp are boiled in a flavorful mixture of spices, such as cayenne pepper, garlic, and paprika, which gives them a spicy and tangy flavor. The shrimp are then served hot and can be enjoyed on their own or with dipping sauces like cocktail sauce or remoulade. Fresh shrimp is key to this dish, as it ensures a tender and succulent texture. The bold flavors of Cajun Boiled Shrimp make it a must-try dish for seafood lovers.

Here is a simple recipe for Cajun Boiled Shrimp:

  • Ingredients:

    • 2 pounds of fresh shrimp
    • Cajun seasoning
    • Lemon wedges
  • Instructions:

    1. Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil.
    2. Add Cajun seasoning to the boiling water.
    3. Carefully add the shrimp to the pot and cook for about 2-3 minutes, or until they turn pink.
    4. Remove the shrimp from the pot and serve hot with lemon wedges.

Tip: To enhance the flavor, you can also add other ingredients like corn, potatoes, and sausage to the boiling water.

Enjoy the bold and spicy flavors of Cajun Boiled Shrimp during your Mardi Gras festivities!

International Mardi Gras Influences

French Creole Cuisine

French Creole Cuisine is a unique blend of French, African, Spanish, and Caribbean influences. It is characterized by its bold flavors and rich, complex dishes. Gumbo is a popular dish in French Creole Cuisine, made with a thick, flavorful broth and a variety of ingredients such as seafood, sausage, and vegetables. Another classic dish is Jambalaya, a one-pot rice dish that combines meat, vegetables, and spices. Crawfish Etouffee is a delicious seafood dish that features crawfish smothered in a rich, savory sauce. And of course, no discussion of French Creole Cuisine would be complete without mentioning the iconic King Cake, a sweet pastry traditionally enjoyed during Mardi Gras.

In addition to these dishes, French Creole Cuisine also incorporates a variety of spices and seasonings, such as cayenne pepper, thyme, and bay leaves, to add depth and flavor to the dishes. The cuisine is known for its use of fresh, local ingredients, and its emphasis on bold, vibrant flavors.

If you’re looking to experience the flavors of French Creole Cuisine, be sure to visit restaurants in New Orleans and other areas with a strong Creole influence. These establishments often offer a wide range of traditional dishes, as well as modern interpretations that showcase the creativity and innovation of the local chefs.

Here are some popular dishes in French Creole Cuisine:

GumboA thick, flavorful broth with seafood, sausage, and vegetables
JambalayaA one-pot rice dish with meat, vegetables, and spices
Crawfish EtouffeeCrawfish smothered in a rich, savory sauce
King CakeA sweet pastry traditionally enjoyed during Mardi Gras

French Creole Cuisine is a true reflection of the diverse cultural influences that have shaped the cuisine of Louisiana. It is a celebration of flavors and a testament to the rich culinary heritage of the region.

Spanish Tapas

Spanish tapas are small, flavorful dishes that are perfect for sharing and sampling a variety of flavors. These bite-sized snacks are typically served with drinks and are a popular part of Spanish cuisine. Patatas bravas is a classic tapas dish that consists of crispy fried potatoes topped with a spicy tomato sauce. Another popular tapas dish is albondigas, which are Spanish meatballs served in a rich tomato sauce. Gambas al ajillo, or garlic shrimp, is another delicious tapas option. These succulent shrimp are cooked in olive oil with garlic and chili flakes, creating a flavorful and aromatic dish.

If you’re hosting a Mardi Gras party, consider serving a selection of Spanish tapas to add some international flair to your menu. You can create a tapas platter with a variety of dishes, such as patatas bravas, albondigas, and gambas al ajillo. Your guests will love the opportunity to try different flavors and share in the festive spirit of Mardi Gras.

Caribbean Flavors

Caribbean flavors have had a significant influence on Mardi Gras cuisine. The fusion of African, European, and Indigenous Caribbean ingredients and cooking techniques has created a unique and vibrant culinary tradition. Spices play a crucial role in Caribbean dishes, adding depth and complexity to the flavors. Some popular Caribbean dishes that you can find during Mardi Gras include Jerk ChickenCurry Goat, and Plantain Fritters. These dishes are known for their bold flavors and use of tropical ingredients like coconut and mango.

In addition to the delicious food, Caribbean culture also brings a lively and energetic atmosphere to Mardi Gras celebrations. The rhythmic beats of Caribbean music, such as soca and reggae, fill the air, creating a festive ambiance. So, if you’re looking to add some tropical flair to your Mardi Gras feast, be sure to explore the vibrant flavors of the Caribbean.

Brazilian Feijoada

Feijoada is a traditional Brazilian dish that is often enjoyed during Mardi Gras celebrations. It is a hearty and flavorful stew made with black beans, various cuts of pork, and spices. The dish is typically served with rice, collard greens, and orange slices. Feijoada is known for its rich and smoky flavors, making it a popular choice among Mardi Gras revelers.

  • The dish originated in Brazil and has become a staple in Brazilian cuisine.
  • Feijoada is often enjoyed with caipirinha, a traditional Brazilian cocktail made with cachaça, lime, and sugar.

Tip: To enhance the flavors of feijoada, consider adding a touch of smoked paprika or a splash of orange juice.

Feijoada is a delicious and satisfying dish that is perfect for Mardi Gras celebrations. Its combination of savory flavors and hearty ingredients make it a crowd-pleaser. Whether you’re hosting a Mardi Gras party or simply want to enjoy a taste of Brazil, feijoada is a must-try dish.

Mardi Gras Food Festivals

New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival

The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival is one of the most iconic Mardi Gras food festivals. It showcases the rich culinary traditions of New Orleans and celebrates the city’s vibrant music and culture. The festival features a wide variety of food vendors offering delicious dishes from traditional Creole and Cajun cuisine to international flavors.

  • Visitors can indulge in classic New Orleans dishes like gumbo, jambalaya, and crawfish etouffee.
  • For those looking for a sweet treat, beignets, a French-inspired pastry, are a must-try.
  • The festival also highlights regional specialties like boudin, a type of sausage, and muffuletta, a Sicilian sandwich.

Tip: Make sure to come hungry and explore the different food booths to experience the diverse flavors of Mardi Gras!

Cajun Food Festival

The Cajun Food Festival is a celebration of the rich and flavorful cuisine of the Cajun culture. It showcases a variety of traditional dishes that have been passed down through generations. From spicy jambalaya to savory gumbo, attendees can indulge in the bold flavors that make Cajun food so unique.

One highlight of the festival is the Cajun Boiled Shrimp, a classic dish that is cooked with a special blend of spices and served with a tangy dipping sauce. The shrimp are tender and succulent, bursting with flavor.

In addition to the delicious food, the Cajun Food Festival also offers live music, dancing, and entertainment for the whole family to enjoy. It’s a lively and vibrant event that captures the spirit of Mardi Gras.

If you’re a fan of Cajun cuisine or simply looking to experience the vibrant culture of Louisiana, the Cajun Food Festival is a must-visit event. It’s a chance to taste authentic Cajun dishes, immerse yourself in the lively atmosphere, and create lasting memories.

Mardi Gras Food Truck Rally

The Mardi Gras Food Truck Rally is a popular event that brings together a variety of food trucks offering delicious and diverse cuisines. From traditional Mardi Gras dishes to international influences, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

One of the highlights of the rally is the opportunity to try different versions of classic Mardi Gras dishes. You can indulge in Gumbo, a flavorful stew made with a variety of meats and vegetables, or savor the bold flavors of Jambalaya, a rice dish cooked with sausage, chicken, and spices.

For those looking for a taste of New Orleans, be sure to try the famous Beignets. These deep-fried pastries are dusted with powdered sugar and are a must-try treat. If you’re in the mood for something savory, the Muffuletta is a delicious sandwich made with Italian meats, cheese, and olive salad.

If you’re feeling adventurous, explore the international influences at the rally. Experience the flavors of Spanish Tapas or the vibrant spices of Caribbean Cuisine. And for a taste of Brazil, don’t miss the Brazilian Feijoada, a hearty black bean stew with various cuts of pork.

Whether you’re a foodie or just looking for a fun culinary experience, the Mardi Gras Food Truck Rally is a must-visit event. With a wide range of dishes to choose from, you’re sure to find something that satisfies your taste buds.

Mobile Bay Food & Film Festival

The Mobile Bay Food & Film Festival is a celebration of food and film that takes place in Mobile, Alabama. This festival brings together local chefs, filmmakers, and food enthusiasts to showcase the culinary talents of the region. Attendees can enjoy a variety of food vendors, cooking demonstrations, and film screenings throughout the festival.

One of the highlights of the Mobile Bay Food & Film Festival is the food competitions. Local chefs compete in categories such as Best Seafood Dish, Best Dessert, and Most Creative Use of Local Ingredients. These competitions add an exciting element to the festival and allow attendees to taste some of the best dishes the region has to offer.

In addition to the food and film, the festival also features live music performances, art exhibits, and interactive workshops. It’s a lively and vibrant event that celebrates the rich culinary and cultural heritage of the Mobile Bay area.

If you’re a food lover or a film enthusiast, the Mobile Bay Food & Film Festival is a must-visit event. It’s a unique opportunity to indulge in delicious food, discover talented chefs, and enjoy captivating films in a beautiful setting.


In conclusion, Mardi Gras is a time of celebration and indulgence, and the food is a central part of the festivities. From traditional dishes like gumbo and jambalaya to sweet treats like king cake, there are plenty of delicious options to enjoy during this festive season. Whether you’re looking to try out new recipes at home or explore local restaurants that serve authentic Mardi Gras cuisine, there are endless possibilities to satisfy your taste buds. So grab a mask, put on some beads, and get ready to feast like never before!

Frequently Asked Questions

What are traditional Mardi Gras dishes?

Traditional Mardi Gras dishes include Gumbo, Jambalaya, Crawfish Etouffee, and King Cake.

Where can I find beignets in New Orleans?

You can find beignets in New Orleans at Cafe du Monde or Cafe Beignet.

What is boudin?

Boudin is a type of sausage made with pork, rice, and various seasonings.

What is a muffuletta?

A muffuletta is a type of sandwich made with Italian meats, cheese, and a round sesame bread.

Some popular Mardi Gras food festivals include the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Cajun Food Festival, Mardi Gras Food Truck Rally, and Mobile Bay Food & Film Festival.

What are some international influences on Mardi Gras food?

Some international influences on Mardi Gras food include French Creole cuisine, Spanish tapas, Caribbean flavors, and Brazilian feijoada.

You may also like

Book My Tour